Retail lockdown would have devastating impact on businesses

Monday, 5 October 2020
Retail Ireland, the Ibec group that represents the retail sector, today said any move to close significant swathes of retail as part of new Covid restrictions would have a devastating impact on thousands of businesses and jobs. In the run up to the key Christmas trading period, non-grocery trade would move almost exclusively online with the majority of spending leaving the country.

Retail Ireland Director Arnold Dillon said: “The news that a widespread retail lockdown is under review is a major shock. The economic and social costs would be enormous, thousands of businesses and jobs would be at risk. This must be avoided. No evidence has been presented that retail settings are a significant cause of Covid transmission. In fact, the sector has radically transformed how it operates, with face masks, social distancing and other hygiene measure, to ensure a safe and highly controlled environment for customers and staff.

“We need to be able to manage the threat of Covid through targeted restrictions, while also sustaining economic activity and jobs. The retail sector has clearly demonstrated that this can be done. A rigorous risk assessment, which incorporates economic and social considerations, must be carried out before any new restrictions are introduced.”